What Does ‘12 Lead EKG’ Mean?

An ‘12 Lead EKG’ refers to a type of electrocardiogram that can provide a more comprehensive picture of a patient’s heart activity when compared to a basic EKG.

If you want to become a competent EKG technician, learning 12 Lead EKG is critical. This tool can help healthcare professionals make important decisions regarding a patient’s cardiovascular health.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between single-lead EKGs and 12-Lead EKGs, how a 12-Lead works, and where you can find the best 12 Lead test prep materials online.

EKG Versus 12 Lead EKG

As stated, a basic EKG uses three leads to read a patient’s heart’s electrical activity. Basic EKGs are used for the most basic form of heart monitoring, whereas 12-lead EKGs use ten different electrodes placed over predetermined positions. This allows the 12-lead EKG to record the three-dimensional electrical activity of the heart, giving healthcare providers a more complete scope of what’s happening.

12 Lead EKGs offer many benefits, including:

  • Enabling evaluation of acute effects of a pulmonary embolism
  • Detecting and localizing potentially life-threatening arrhythmias that are often overlooked in other EKGs
  • Establishing early diagnosis by rapid identification of injury and its extent
  • Assisting clinicians in deciding whether modifications are required for therapy

In our 12 Lead EKG Masterclass, we dive deep into how to read a 12 Lead, the fundamentals of using a 12 Lead, and the most advanced topics and tactics for EKG technicians.

How a 12 Lead EKG Works

Despite its name, a 12 Lead only uses ten electrodes. The electrode placements are placed in standard places you will learn about in class.

A 12 Lead checks the heart’s electrical activity, can help find the cause of unexplained chest pain, can find the cause of symptoms of heart disease, can determine if the walls of the heart chambers are too thick and more.

Do You Need to Know 12 Lead EKG to Be an EKG Technician?

Generally, yes. Any EKG technician should be proficient in using all EKG equipment, including 12 Lead. However, this can depend on your duties. It’s typically expected that EKG techs can perform basic EKGs, Holter monitoring, 12 Lead placement, and treadmill stress tests.

If you want to learn how to pass the EKG national exam, you should study up on 12 Lead placements at the absolute minimum.

What Courses Are Available for 12 Lead EKG?

In addition to taking the required accredited or state-approved EKG course, we recommend you sign up for a study course to streamline your studies. The EKG courses can move fast, with little time to memorize heart rhythms or waveforms. Instructors might breeze past certain areas you want a refresher on.

With our EKG and 12 Lead EKG Masterclasses, you never have to worry about getting left behind. Both courses are multiple hours long, and you can revisit them as often as needed. Our courses come with presentation breakdowns, videos, slides, and knowledge check quizzes to help you accurately gauge your understanding of the material.

In our standard EKG course, we focus on:

  • Reading EKG rhythms
  • Understanding EKG rhythms
  • How to treat specific EKG rhythms

That first course lays that groundwork, giving you the foundational knowledge you need to build on your expertise. Then, in our 12 Lead course, we dive into the nitty-gritty of everything 12 Lead EKG.

We have the hands-on perspective you need to truly understand how to read and use EKGs. If you’re ready to get started on your career as an EKG technician, don’t wait‒sign up for our Masterclass series on EKGs today!

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